Are we allowed to talk about this or that actress delivering a certain unzipped quality? Or has that kind of talk been outlawed? I don’t know if I’m any good at describing stand-out, X-factor, special-allure qualities when it comes to actresses, but since seeing Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War last May I’ve become more and more convinced that Joanna Kulig, the 36 year-old Polish actress who plays femme fatale “Zula” Lichon, is the new Jeanne Moreau. Or, if you will, the new Laura Antonelli.

What does that mean exactly? It means that she has a certain irreverent-but-sensuous thing going on. A quality of impudence. Besides being highly fetching there’s something about Kulig that feels a tiny bit bothered or madhouse. In a good way, I mean. Because the slightly crazy ones are always (and please don’t lynch me for saying this) great in the sack.

Moreau wasn’t devastatingly beautiful in a Catherine Deneuve sense, but she had a look on her face that told you she’d been around the block and had known disappointment and unhappiness. Her face had a hard-knocks, downturned-mouth quality. Kulig has this also. There’s something in her eyes and manner that is direct and yet slightly mocking and melancholy. She’s got it, whatever it is. In my book she’s earned consideration for a Best Actress Oscar — no question.